Fighting flares in disputed Sudanese oil town

May 20th, 2008 - 5:07 pm ICT by admin  

Nairobi/Khartoum, May 20 (DPA) Heavy fighting broke out Tuesday between Sudanese government forces and former rebels from the south in the flash point oil-rich town of Abyei, the BBC reported. Clashes erupted last Wednesday after a local dispute, forcing tens of thousands of civilians to flee and the UN to pull out its civilian staff.

A peace deal was signed last Thursday, but UN officials said that the army and the former rebels, whose bloody decades-long civil war against Khartoum was ended by a 2005 peace agreement, had once again resumed hostilities.

The two sides had met for talks several times in the last few days to try and reach an agreement to end the fighting, but each agreement has been broken by further clashes.

The impasse over the Abyei area, whose oil wealth is contested by both north and south Sudan, is one of the stumbling blocks delaying implementation of the peace deal.

Abyei, which has a special administrative status, sits near the disputed border between the northern and southern regions and has significant oil deposits.

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